New Delhi: Delhi bowlers stuck to a disciplined line to bowl out Railways for 259 on the first day of the sixth round Ranji Trophy Super League (Group A) encounter being played at the Roshanara ground.
At stumps, stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan (25 balls, 6x4) and his opening partner Unmukt Chand (17, 3x4) knocked off 48 runs in only eight overs.
Shikhar has been entrusted with the duty of leading the side after regular captain Mithun Manhas had to pull out due to a groin injury.
Even Delhi’s best bowler Pawan Suyal was ruled out due to a knee injury.
Dhawan rightly opted to field on a seaming Roshanara track where barring veteran opener Shreyas Khanolkar (102, 187 balls, 19x4), there was distinct lack of application from the other Railways batsmen.
It was young Kapil Yadav who got Delhi the first breakthrough when opener Faiz Fazal (6) was caught by Aditya Jain.
Kapil who was originally supposed to replace Pradeep Sangwan (but the latter eventually made in place of an injured Suyal) bowled at a brisk pace occasionally getting the ball to lift from short of good length. However there was some bad news at the end of the day as Kapil was taken for an x-ray after he sustained a side strain.
With Sumit Narwal also finding his rhythm at the other end, it boiled to down Khanolkar punishing the loose deliveries while others scratched around. Khanolkar who played his first match in whites since his return from the rebel ICL gave a good account of himself.
Veteran Sanjay Bangar (8) who replaced Murali Karthik as the captain for this match struggled for 45 deliveries before Sangwan cleaned him up. Within a couple of deliveries Sangwan (2/52) got his second victim in debutant Rakesh Mishra who was caught in the slips by Unmukt.
Left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra (3/45) who returned with the best figures bowled Harshad Rawle at the stroke of lunch when he went for a cut.
Khanolkar and wicketkeeper-batsman Mahesh Rawat (18) added 43 runs for the fifth wicket before Narwal got one to move in as he clean bowled the latter to reduce Railways to 124 for five.
It was debutant Dhiren Salvi (34, 46 balls, 4x4) who supported Khanolkar as the duo put on 66 runs for the sixth wicket before Dhawan caught him in the slips off Rajat Bhatia’s bowling.
As Khanolkar reached his third century in first-class cricket, it was Murali Karthik’s sweet little cameo (37, 7x4) that helped Railways cross the 250-mark.